Wild Thistle Kitchen: Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Soup

This slow-cooker white bean and sausage soup recipe is so easy, so comforting and so delicious. It’s a jazzed-up version of a recipe I saw in a magazine a few years ago. The original recipe was pretty bland, so I put my little thumbprint on it and made it mine by adding some exotic, floral, distinctly Spanish saffron (think paella), white wine, lots of garlic and a few other flavors that remind me of the beautiful cuisine of Spain.

My family loves this and I love making it. As much as I love piddling around in the kitchen, it’s nice to have a few set-it-and-forget-it-type recipes up my sleeve. Serve this Spanish-inspired white bean and sausage soup with some toasty bread rubbed with garlic.

Now I have a confession: I used to be kind of snooty about slow cookers. My dad never used one and, in fact, I don’t think we even had one in the house when I was a kid. I just always thought overcooked, watery, mushy, drab-colored things came out of slow cookers.

Phew. I’m so glad I got that off my chest.

I’m happy to report that my opinion has changed over the past few years and I appreciate my slow cooker much more. Being a busy working mom/student and being away from home for long days of class and work made me appreciate the comfort and reliability of slow cookers — especially during the fall and winter months.

It’s so nice to come home to something warm after a long, cold day. And even now, though I work from home and am in my kitchen all day, I still love the smug feeling of multitasking as something cooks away all on its own.

I should note, though, that you could absolutely make this on the stovetop if you either don’t have a slow cooker or prefer not to use it. Just add everything to a large stock pot and simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. And if you want to make it even quicker, use canned beans instead of dried.

Not a lot of steps to show. The most hands-on part is browning the sausage, which I highly encourage.

I hope you’ll give this slow-cooker white bean and sausage soup a try. Let me know if you do. Your comments and ratings on my posts help me more than you know — and they make me so happy! So let me know what you think and if you’d like to see more slow-cooker posts.

xo — Anita

Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1 pound dried white beans (such as great northern or navy), soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

14 ounces andouille sausage or Spanish-style chorizo (not Mexican chorizo!), halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices (see note)

4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought

1 cup dry white wine

1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if you can find them)

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves

A pinch of saffron, about ¼ teaspoon

1 tablespoon paprika, sweet or smoked

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

4 cups fresh spinach (a couple big handfuls)

Chopped fresh parsley

Extra virgin olive oil

Sherry vinegar

Bread (for serving)

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.


The night before you want to make this soup, place dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water and a tablespoon of salt. Leave for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse before proceeding with recipe.

Over medium heat in a large skillet, cook sausage slices until nice and brown.

In a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, sausage, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, saffron, wine and water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender.

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and olive oil and serve with crusty bread.


  • To bump up the flavor, I always like to brown any meats I’m adding to a slow-cooker recipe, but it is optional. I have made this without browning the sausage and it is still delicious! So it’s totally up to you.
  • Soaking the beans really makes a difference and it literally happens while you sleep. But if you don’t want to bother, you can make this recipe with canned beans. Just be sure to drain and rinse them well.

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